A Quick Start Guide to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet

For patients suffering from one or more autoimmune diseases, diet change is a crucial step toward relieving symptoms. One popular diet for controlling autoimmune disease is the Autoimmune Protocol(AIP). The AIP is an elimination diet that focuses on removing foods that often trigger autoimmune responses while also repairing and strengthening the gut. The diet consists of a thirty to sixty day elimination phase followed by another several weeks of reintroduction during which patients test immune response to each restricted food to find sensitivities.

New research supports what proponents of the AIP diet claim–that it can lead to decreased symptoms and even remission for some patients. In a recent study, eleven out of the fifteen patients who followed the AIP diet for six weeks achieved complete remission. A quick internet search reveals countless stories of autoimmune sufferers who have successfully used the AIP diet for pain relief and remission.

The AIP diet focuses on eliminating the following foods that are most likely to cause an autoimmune response:

  • eggs
  • dairy
  • wheat/grains
  • nuts and seeds
  • beans/legumes
  • nightshade vegetables
  • processed food
  • sugar/sweeteners
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • chocolate
  • herbs and spices from seeds (peppercorn, cumin, coriander seed, etc.)
  • vegetable oils (olive, avocado and coconut are okay)

A more detailed list and reasoning behind each restriction can be found here.

While the AIP diet will likely be life changing for patients suffering from autoimmune disease, if done properly it doesn’t have to be overly disruptive to a person’s lifestyle. Meal planning, regularly trying new recipes, preparing meals in advance and using the internet to find replacements and new foods are all useful techniques for sticking with the diet and making it easier. New resources, websites and cookbooks become available all the time and with a little planning and curiosity the elimination phase will be bearable and likely lead to vast improvements and even remission of symptoms.